Interpretations and Perspectives of the Great Conflict
Edited By Jarosław Suchoples and Stephanie James
Mohd. Safar Hasim - Singapore’s Sepoy Mutiny and the Beginning of Press Control in Malaya
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Mohd. Safar Hasim
Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS) Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Singapore’s Sepoy Mutiny and the Beginning of Press Control in Malaya
Abstract: The aim of this chapter is to explain the circumstances leading to the introduction of a law on seditious publications in the Straits Settlements. With that as the starting point more laws were introduced to control the press, covering not only newspapers but also periodicals and printing presses. There were no laws in the then Straits Settlements with regard to sedition or seditious publications. However, following a mutiny by the 5th Light Infantry Regiment based in Singapore, which took place in the middle of February 1915, and subsequent investigations which showed that the mutineers were politically aroused to launch their action, a law covering seditious publications was enacted. Other events which took place between World War I and World War II, namely the activities of the Kuomintang (KMT), Japanese propaganda activities, and the German propaganda activities prior to World War II, led to the introduction of the stringent Printing Presses Ordinance. In 1935, the Straits Settlements Government introduced its own Official Secrets Ordinance, incorporating some important elements from England’s Official Secrets Act of 1911 and the Official Secrets Act of 1920. Following instructions from the Colonial Office in 1938, the Straits Settlements Government introduced the Sedition Ordinance and Undesirable Publications Ordinance 1938, standardising related laws in the rest of British dominion.
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